Athletic Training Degree

Athletic Training Degree Master of Science (M.S.) in Athletic Training

About the Athletic Training Degree

Become certified to prevent, diagnose and rehabilitate injuries as an athletic trainer.

As a graduate student in pursing an athletic training degree at California University of Pennsylvania, you'll develop the knowledge and clinical skills required for a career as an athletic trainer. Cal U's accredited Master's in Athletic Training Degree program takes a hands-on, multifaceted approach to preparing students for certification and a career in this fast-growing occupation.

Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventive care, emergency response and clinical examination and diagnosis of injuries, along with therapeutic interventions and rehabilitation services.

Athletic training is recognized as an allied healthcare profession by the American Medical Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gain clinical skills as you prepare for certification exams.

Students in Cal U's athletic trainer degree program develop clinical skills in areas such as casting, manual therapies, therapeutic interventions, pharmacology and advanced sports nutrition. They complete two cadaver dissection courses, which provide a foundational understanding of human anatomy.

Courses for the second summer and fall semseters are taken online. All other courses are held on Cal U's main campus.

Athletic trainer degree students who complete the course ATE 750, Orthopedic Appliances: Casting and Bracing, will be eligible to take the certification exam offered by the American Society of Orthopedic Professionals to become a Registered Orthopedic Technologist (ROT).

By 2022, anyone seeking certification in athletic training will be required to hold a graduate-level degree. Students who complete Cal U's M.S. in Athletic Training will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam, the Board of Certification (BOC) exam, to obtain athletic training certification. A successful candidate then has the ability to obtain a state medical license to practice as an athletic trainer.

See Cal U's BOC Pass Rate.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons to get a Master's Degree in Athletic Training


Clinical experience: Each semester, students are engaged in a variety of clinical education experiences. In the second year of Cal U's master's degree program in athletic training, students engage in clinical immersion at a wide variety of affiliated sites; potential sites include the NFL, NBA, Disney Wide World of Sports and UPMC Health Systems, among others. This allows graduate students to gain additional hands-on clinical experience working with athletic injuries as they progress toward completion of the degree.

Accredited program:
California University of Pennsylvania's athletic training program is accredited by CAATE, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. CAATE reviews the quality of athletic training programs across the United States and accredits only those programs that meet its high standards for educational quality. Students apply to California University of Pennsylvania's athletic training program using ATCAS, a service of CAATE that allows athletic training applicants to use a single web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple athletic training programs.

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22 %
Projected increase in athletic training jobs between 2014 and 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Complete this graduate degree program in two academic years plus two summer sessions.
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Degree Benefits


Students in the master's degree program in athletic training have access to top athletic training facilities in Cal U's Hamer Hall, Convocation Center, Adamson Stadium and Phillipsburg soccer complex. Athletic training equipment includes a Biodex isokinetic system, a SwimEx therapy pool, and the latest in modalities and therapeutic exercise equipment. Athletic training students have multiple opportunities to engage in scholarly research, including a research project capstone or thesis, and to apply for grant funding and/or submit their research for publication or presentation.

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Graduate Outcomes

Students graduate from the M.S. in Athletic Training program with applied, hands-on experience. Throughout this graduate degree program, you'll engage in clinical education rotations with groups ranging from Cal U intercollegiate athletics and club sports to athletic teams at local high schools and colleges. You also may gain experience with affiliates including professional sports organizations and health systems. Networking opportunities are available through alumni gatherings, professional events and the Athletic Training Student Organization.

Athletic Training (M.S.)
Athletic training masters degree program

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for certified athletic trainers is expected to grow as people become more aware of the effects of sports-related injuries and Americans remain active as they age. Cal U graduates who are certified in athletic training may find employment in:

  • High schools, colleges or universities.
  • Professional sports franchises.
  • Clinics or physicians' offices.
  • Military or industrial settings.
  • Companies that provide assistive orthopedic devices.
  • Nontraditional settings such as performing arts, motocross or bull riding venues.
Read More About Career Options

Alumni Success

Athletic training graduate Gordon William '06 has built his career with the National Football League. He was employed with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2006-2009 and now is an assistant athletic trainer with the Cleveland Browns. Kelly Pagnotta '08 went on to earn advanced degrees at the University of Connecticut. Now she's an assistant professor at Temple University and the primary instructor for the Doctor of Athletic Training program.

 View more success stories


Master of Science in Athletic Training Courses

Students in this master's degree program take some courses on campus, including clinical skills labs and two cadaver anatomy dissection courses. Courses in the second summer and fall terms will be taken online while engaging in clinical practicums.



Course Credits
ATE 600 Cadaver Anatomy Dissection  4
ATE 603 Foundations of Athletic Training 2
ATE 610 Clinical Skills in Athletic Training 2
ATE 615 Emergency Care & Lab 3
ATE 630 Therapeutic Interventions II & Lab 4
ATE 635 Examination of the Lower Extremity & Lab 3
ATE 650 Head & Spine Cadaver Anatomy Dissection 2
ATE 655 Examination of the Head & Spine & Lab 2
ATE 660 Principles of Research 2
ATE 661 Research Project I 2
ATE 665 Examination of the Upper Extremity & Lab 3
ATE 670 Practicum I 2
ATE 673 Practicum II 2
ATE 690 Therapeutic Interventions I & Lab 4
ATE 715 Clinical Pathologies 3
ATE 723 Administration in Athletic Training (Online) 2
ATE 740 Advanced Nutrition for Sport & Exercise 2
ATE 744 Pharmacology (Online) 2
ATE 750 Orthopedic Appliances: Casting & Bracing 1
ATE 760 Research Project II (Online) 2
ATE 761 Research Project Capstone OR RES 849 Thesis 3 or 4
ATE 772 Clinical Immersion (Online) 2
ATE 774 Practicum III (Online) 2
ATE 776 Practicum IV 2
ATE 781 Complementary & Alternative Therapies with Lab 2
EDP 600 Statistical Methods 3
Total 63 or 64


Admission Requirements


California University of Pennsylvania's Master of Science in Athletic Training degree program is a 63-credit curriculum that takes a hands-on, multifaceted approach to preparing students for certification. Graduate students in this hybrid master's degree program take some courses on Cal U's campus, including clinical skills labs and two cadaver anatomy dissection courses, examination, and therapeutic intervention courses and one semester, students take courses online while engaging in a clinical practicum. Additionally, in the second summer semester students are engaged in an off-campus clinical immersion experience.

Students develop an advance skillset in the areas of:

  • casting and splinting
  • advanced manual therapy techniques
  • alternative therapies

Admission Requirements:

The following are the three routes to admission:

Traditional 2-year, post-baccalaureate degree

A student who has already completed a bachelor’s degree and meets the requirements for graduate application. Students can have earned any undergraduate degree, however a discipline related to the health science field is strongly encouraged as they are more likely to fulfill the prerequisites for the MSAT Program.

Early Entry (3+2, internal applicants)

Internal students will major in Pre-Athletic Training and complete undergraduate prerequisite courswork. During their final undergraduate term, spring semester-year 3, student will apply to the MSAT Program.

Early Admission Assurance

Pre-Athletic Training Students can apply for Admission Assurance during the spring semester of their first or second year. This admission guarantees the student a spot in the MSAT Program pending meeting certain academic requirements. To be considered for the Early Admission Assurance Program, student must be admitted into CalU, pursuing an undergraduate degree and meet the following criteria:

·         Cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 or better (on a 4.0 scale)

·         1100 SAT or 22 ACT scores

·         Declare pre-athletic training as their major by March, year 1

Once admitted to the Early Admission Assurance program, students must meet with following academic standards and requirements to keep the guaranteed status into the MSAT program.

·         Maintain cumulative GPA 3.25

·         Earn ‘B-‘ or better in program prerequisite courses

Students who maintain these qualifications will also get first preference in their initial clinical rotation.

In the spring of their 3rd year, students will need to submit all other program application materials to complete the application process.

  • A  cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • A combined 3.00  GPA or better in all prerequisite coursework and earn a C+ or better in each prerequisite course
    • Biology, Chemistry, Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Exercise Physiology, Health, Kinesiology/Biomechanics, Nutrition, Psychology, Statistics, and Physics
  • Earned a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits
  • Official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • Submit two letters of recommendation

Program Requirements:

  • Submit proof of immunization
  • Complete a minimum of 30 clinical observations hours, across three different rotations
  • Provide verification of CPR/AED certification
  • Signed Technical Standards form
  • Hepatitis B Waiver form
  • Act 34 Clearance (Pa. Criminal History)
  • Act 114 Clearance (Federal Criminal History/ FBI fingerprinting background check)
  • Act 151 Clearance (Child Abuse)

Applicants must meet the admissions criteria (or be currently enrolled in the remaining prerequisites).

*Applicants interested in our program only have to complete the ATCAS application.  You DO NOT need to complete a separate application Cal U.  However, your admissions decision and your intent to enroll with be processed by Cal U Graduate Admissions. 

In the Program Documents section you are asked to upload 3 clearances. This is in accordance with the commonwealth of PA and Department of Education because our students will be engaged in clinical/field experiences in the presence of minors.

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact the Program Director:

Dr. Kayla Shinew

If you have questions regarding your Admission to Cal U, please contact Graduate Admissions 

Graduate Admissions 


Cal U's athletic training program has probationary status with CAATE, the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

Applicants for the athletic training program should create an account in ATCAS, then click on "Cal U" to apply. All application materials can be uploaded to this site. 
No secondary application to California University of Pennsylvania or to its School of Graduate Studies and Research is required. For more information, contact Dr. Kayla Shinew, program director, at or 724-938-4823.

View technical standards for admission

View the M.S. in Athletic Training Policies and Procedures Manual

View the B.S. in Athletic Training Policies and Procedures Manual

BOC Pass Rate

Program's Outcome Data

Athletic Training Degree Faculty

Dr. Shelly Fetchen DiCesaro
Associate Professor/Chair of the Department of Health Science/Program Director, Graduate Athletic Training Program/Athletic Trainer, Women's Basketball

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Mindi Fisher
Instructor/Athletic Trainer for Football

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Jeff Giovannucci
Instructor/Athletic Trainer for Track and Field

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Danielle McElhiney
Instructor/Athletic Trainer for Men's Basketball

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Dr. Kayla Shinew
Athletic Training Program Director

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Dr. Jamie Weary
Associate Professor

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